Wheaton police warn of coyote attacks

WHEATON – The Wheaton Police Department is warning residents about the increased presence of coyotes in the area and the dangers they pose to small dogs, according to a news release from the department.

There have been three reports of coyote attacks on small dogs in recent weeks, the release said. On Nov. 27, a resident was outside with two dogs when a coyote took one of the animals, which was unleasehed. On Dec. 8, a small dog in a fenced yard suffered extensive injuries from an attack. Two days after that, two coyotes took a dog from outside a residence.

Fences do not guarantee the safety of pets, according to the release. Residents are encouraged to supervise small pets outdoors and keep them on a leash whenever possible. Coyotes are more visible this time of year due to food scarcity and the presence of young coyotes leaving their families.

Should a resident encounter a coyote, it is recommended that they clap, shout, run toward it, throw something at it or otherwise act aggressively, the release said, because the animals have a natural fear of humans.

Residents who see a coyote acting in a threatening manner should call 911, according to the release. Police officers will respond.